Signs of Trouble with Your Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal has become a staple of the modern kitchen, and almost every sink in the area has one of those telltale cylinders sitting just underneath it. They serve to grind up food that you rinse down the drain so that is can safely move through the pipes and into the civic sewer system. They do their jobs without fuss for the most part, but no appliance is perfect, and sooner or later your garbage disposal will run into trouble.

You should never attempt to diagnose or repair a faulty garbage disposal on your own. Doing so required a properly trained plumber, and even the most dedicate layman lacks the training and experience that the professional can bring to the equation. That doesn’t mean you can’t spot the signs of a problem, however, or perform some basic troubleshooting before you call for help.


Signs of trouble with your garbage disposal means anything you don’t recognize as the normal functioning of your system. That can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Refusal to Turn On. A disposal that won’t turn on is one of the most obvious signs that you have a problem. This can often be corrected by following the troubleshooting steps below.
  • Leaks. Puddles forming underneath the sink might be a sign that your garbage disposal is having trouble.
  • Clogs. If the sink is slow to drain, then there may be a clog or some other issue with the disposal.
  • Smells. Many plumbing problems are accompanied by a distinctive odor, which often applies to garbage disposal issues as well (such as an inability to grind food up properly).
  • Grinding Noises. This usually needs no embellishment: you’ll know it when you hear it. Sometimes, the noise is caused by a spoon or other utensil caught in the disposal. If that isn’t the course of the issue, however, then you’re probably looking at a more significant mechanical breakdown elsewhere in the system.


Basic troubleshooting starts with checking the disposal for anything that might be keeping it from functioning. kitchen utensils that slide down the drain, rings and other pieces of jewelry or every toys stuck down the drain by playing children can all create significant problems. In those cases, removing the object will usually solve the issue (make sure the disposal is turned off and unplugged before pulling anything out).

Assuming that doesn’t work and the problem doesn’t obviously point to something other that a loss of power, check the power to ensure that the disposal is still getting electricity. A power surge might have triggered the breakers providing electricity to your unit, and resetting the breakers may fix the problem.

If that doesn’t work, look for a red rest button on the bottom of the disposal. Again, make sure the system is turned off before you press it.

If none of these steps address the issue, then call in the pros at Quick Action Plumbers today. We can solve garbage disposal issues throughout the Austell, GA area.


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